- Elevation: 3,332 m (10,932 ft)
- Prominence: 3,069 m
- Ribu category: Sangat Tinggi
- Province: Jawa Timur (East Java)
- Google Earth: kml
- Other names: none.
- Eruptions: 1586, 1593, 1597, 1638, 1730, 1804, 1812-15, 1817, 1838, 1849, 1859-60, 1864, 1881, 1885, 1890, 1896-97, 1902-03, 1913, 1915-17, 1921, 1924, 1927-29, 1933, 1936-41, 1943-45, 1953, 1955-56, 1971, 1973-78, 1982, 1985, 1987-91, 1993-95, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2004-05, 2007-08, 2012-13, 2015
At over 2 kilometres in diameter, Gunung Raung has the largest crater in Java. It’s one of the most remote and least climbed of the 3000-metre plus peaks which means that there isn’t much litter on the trails and it really is a mountain to escape from civilization for a while. Lots of people do see the immense and impressive crater from the air as it is on the flight route from Java to Bali. Raung last erupted in 2015 but there hasn’t been a catastrophic eruption for many decades. It is worth looking at the excellent old photos of the 1913 eruption which are available online.
There are two main routes up Gunung Raung. The most popular route to the rim itself is from the north at Sumberwringin, where accommodation, guides and porters can be arranged. This trek can be completed in two days. However, those wishing to reach the true highest point of Raung crater rim (‘Puncak Sejati’) must hike in from the south near Kalibaru and be prepared to spend two nights on the mountain and complete some short sections of roped rock climbing. NOTE: The two routes do not link up so there is no way to hike up one and go down the other.
Route to true summit (‘Puncak Sejati’) from Kalibaru area
The true highest point of the crater rim, Puncak Sejati, used to require a week but in recent years as more and more groups have used the trail from Kalibaru it can now be achieved in 3 long days. You need an expert local guide and it is best to arrange this as long in advance as possible to ensure that he is not already booked by another group. There is one basecamp in Wonorejo and one in Kalibaru (Adios Pala run by Kang Jarwo – email@example.com / 0878 5727 2111). The Kalibaru basecamp and guide is recommended as it is less than 1km from Kalibaru railway station and shops where you can get all your supplies ready the night before. Your guide will provide you with helmets, ropes and all the necessary but basic equipment required to negotiate the difficult sections of cliff on Day 2.
Day 1: Depart Kalibaru on motorbikes for Wonorejo (570 metres above sea level, 20 minutes away) where you register. Then continue for a further 30 minutes on motorbikes up challenging and muddy terrain to Pos 1 (note that you may need to change ojeks in Wonorejo) which is at an elevation of 900m. Pos 1 is where most hikers start hiking – if you hike in all the way from Wonorejo you will probably need more than 3 days in total to complete the hike. It is a simple warung/hut in coffee plantations run by Madurese Pak Sunarya and his wife. Just one minute down to the left is a good place to view Raung itself in good early morning weather. From here it is 10km in a straight line to the peak.
The gradient of the trail is very pleasant at first and you should hear the flapping of hornbill wings and the grunting of wild boar in the forest around you. You may also spot the beautiful little indigo flycatchers. You should have reached Pos 2 (1,450m) in less than two hours. It is then 30 minutes to Camp 3 (1,640m) and another 45 minutes from there to Camp 4 (1,815m). Camp 5 (2,050m) follows after another 45 minutes and a similar time again to Camp 6 (2,220m) which is near seismological equipment. Finally you will reach Camp 7 (2,555m) which is a pleasant ridge and the best place to camp for both nights on the mountain. It should have taken you 6 or 7 hours including breaks to reach Camp 7. There are great views to Argopuro and Semeru and enough space for at least 10 tents.
Day 2: Leave Camp 7 with headtorches before 4am to make the most of daylight hours for the summit attempt. After just over one hour you will have reached Camp 8 (2,870m). It is then another 45min to an hour to reach Camp 9 (3,070m) which is the last ‘Camp’. The trail is still in forest here, but there are plenty of gaps in the trees to look west to Argopuro and east to Bali’s Gunung Agung. You will also see a majestic peak on Raung’s crater rim to the right of the trail – this is Glenmore Peak (3,227m) which is 1km east of Puncak Sejati. Note: There is actually a trail up from Glenmore to Puncak Sejati via the Glenmore Peak and the trail has water sources on it. However it can take one full day of crawling from Glenmore Peak to Puncak Sejati due to the vertical drop down to the crater and slippery scree! No wonder the Kalibaru route is the preferred one!
Finally, after about 2 hours from Camp 7 you will have reached the end of vegetation (3,115m). Another five minutes and you will be at Puncak Bendera (‘flag peak’, 3,140m) which has an Indonesian flag and offers an astonishing panorama of distant mountains and villages. It is also where you first get a proper glimpse of the difficult sections of trail up to Puncak Sejati. You may wonder if you can really do it or not! This is where you put your helmet on.
From Puncak Bendera it is about 3 hours to reach Puncak Sejati and it is one of the most challenging trails in Indonesia. There are very narrow ridges to cross with sheer drops on either side and slippery scree covering them and short near-vertical sections requiring ropes, helmets, calmness and confidence! After traversing the first of the narrow ridges, you will definitely need to use ropes to ascend a short section of rock with considerable exposure. It is only 10 metres or so but may actually be the most difficult section of the lot and for most hikers is unthinkable without ropes.
The next major landmark is Puncak 17 (3,173m), a stunning pyramid-like peak with a summit marker by Pataga Surabaya on it (with the wrong elevation figure). There are two routes here – guides tend to take you over the top (ropes normally required) on the way to Puncak Sejati but traverse round the side when returning (ropes not strictly required but will be of benefit). On the other side you will need ropes to descend about 20 metres or so – not technically difficult and not too steep.
After Puncak 17, you have another narrow ridge to cross with sheer drops on either side. Some people prefer to shuffle along rather than walk across due to all the little stones making it an easy place to slip. There are then two very short sections where a rope is useful – only 3 metres or so. Now you are down on a huge expanse of steep rock with gullies. If you look up you will see a collection of vertical slabs of rock jutting out into the sky. This is the next target and is called Puncak Tusuk Gigi (‘toothpick peak’, 3,315m). This is not technically demanding, but like on Merapi and Semeru you have to be careful when in a group that you do not send rocks flying down behind you to others on the trail.
Just before you reach Tusuk Gigi, you have to crawl through a large hole over rocks with considerable gaps in between them – care needed. Once through this hole you are rewarded with amazing views of the vertical slabs of rock up-close and also the edge of the crater. But it’s only another 5 minutes up to the right to Puncak Sejati itself where the panorama is most amazing. Guides suggest that Puncak Sejati is 3,344m but the officially-published height is 3,332m and our GPS devices didn’t get a reading over 3,338m. The highest point is marked with another Pataga Surabaya marker from 2013, but there are other mini-summits just metres away of a very similar elevation (GPS device gave the same reading on all of them suggesting just centimetres of difference in height).
There is a section of crumbly cliff just beyond Puncak Sejati which people like to pose on for photos of themselves with Java’s largest crater behind. Do take extra care if you decide to do this. Further east you will see Glenmore Peak and in the distance Ijen-Merapi and Baluran. To the north is the jagged outline of the little Gunung Ringgit and to the west are Argopuro and Semeru. Looking back down at Puncak 17 and Puncak Bendera and you will barely believe that you have made it up here! Congratulations!
It takes about 2 hours and 30 minutes to get back to the relative safety of Puncak Bendera and the start of vegetation again – something that will feel delightful after half a day in the desert-like wasteland of volcanic scree. You can be back down at Camp 7 in less than 2 hours from Puncak Bendera.
Day 3: It takes about 6 hours back down to the warung at Pos 1 where you can even buy a t-shirt or badge to celebrate completing one of Indonesia’s toughest yet most rewarding treks. Your guide should have arranged ojeks to meet you there for the journey back down to Kalibaru which takes under one hour. Thankfully there is phone signal at certain places on the trail so confirming a pick-up time should not be a problem. Once back in Kalibaru, why not treat yourself to a decent meal and drink at the Margo Utomo Resort restaurant?
Route to the crater rim only from Sumberwringin
From the actual starting point near Sumberwringin, strong hikers could reach the rim in just over 7 hours, requiring about 5 hours to descend. It is best to camp one night to enjoy the views.
From Sumberwringin (729m), it’s a 40 minute ojek or truck ride to the starting point in pine forest (1,206m). There are a couple of forks in the path near the start so a guide is a very good idea indeed. It is a long trail, but not especially demanding as the gradient is, for the most part, rather gentle. Raung itself is still quite some distance off, so the trail is actually very pleasant and gentle and it slowly leads you higher up the mountainside up through wild vegetation and scattered pine woodland. Look out for long-tailed black monkeys in this area. There is a nice spot to sit and rest for a while next to a cement trig (1,806m).
In the distance to the right (west) you should be able to see the large mountain of Argopuro rising above the clouds. To the left (east) is a smaller mountain called Gunung Suket, a nice shapely peak just a few kilometres from Raung itself. There are several spots to camp on the trail, but none of them are large enough for more than about 5 tents. They are also on slightly sloping ground. The best two are at 2,337m (no views but warmer) and 2,807m (colder but excellent sunset views over Argopuro). The latter is just 15 minutes from the treeline and would be ideal for anyone wishing to climb to the rim for sunrise.
At the treeline there is a small memorial (2,954m) presumably to someone who perished on the mountain. From here to the rim is about an hour of clambering up steep, bare volcanic rock. It’s pretty easy to climb up this way, but coming down you will probably need to use you hands in a few places to prevent slips and falls. To your left, between Suket and the side of Raung you might be able to spot the massif of Ijen-Merapi pushing through the clouds and the smaller mountain of Baluran inbetween.
Finally you will reach the edge of the crater rim (3,180m) and be rewarded with absolutely stunning views over the vertical crater walls. Take care here as a fall would mean certain death! The caldera is massive, and in the centre is a deep crater, approximately 400 metres across, which sometimes spews gas and rocks. The true highest point of Raung can be seen on the other side of the rim, over to the right (west). It is pretty much impossible to reach the peak from this side but you should be content with what is one of Java’s most amazing panoramas.
Bagging information by Daniel Quinn (last updated August 2017)
- Getting there: The nearest airports are Banyuwangi and Jember (both about 90 minutes from Kalibaru). For the Kalibaru route, you can also take the Surabaya-Banyuwangi or Malang-Banyuwangi train and get off at Kalibaru. For the Sumberwringin route, head to Bondowoso, then towards Wonosari before turning up towards Sumberwringin itself.
- Accommodation: For Kalibaru, the upmarket Margo Utomo is ideal for those not on a tight budget. There are other decent options too. If you are on a tight budget, you can probably stay at one of the simple basecamps for free or a small donation – ask your guide in advance. Basic accommodation available at Sumberwringin. A wider range of places can be found at nearby Ijen.
- Permits: For Kalibaru, register and pay Rp70,000 per hiker at Wonorejo. Make sure your guide has planned this in advance. For Sumberwringin, register and pay a small fee in the village.
- Water sources: There is no water available on either of the main routes so it is vital to take enough. For 3 days and 2 nights doing the true summit from Kalibaru you should take five 1.5litre bottles per person (one per day, plus one for cooking and one for emergency). It is a good idea to arrange a special water porter to drop this off at Camp 7 for you earlier the same day.
- Travel insurance: We recommend World Nomads insurance, which is designed for adventurous travellers with cover for overseas medical, evacuation, baggage and a range of adventure sports and activities including mountain hiking.
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Origins and Meaning
The Roaring Mountain. To the best of my knowledge raung is not a standard Javanese word, so it comes either from the regional dialect of East Java, or from Malay-Indonesian or from Madurese. In any case its meaning is clear: “to roar loudly” referring to the noise emitted by the volcano during eruptions. (George Quinn, 2011)